Turning what might have been a divorce into a brief trial separation, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing has rejoined the Children’s Book Council after pulling out of the organization last February.
S&S publicity director Paul Crichton said the decision was made earlier this week and that, as he told PW last February, the house’s departure was never considered a final move (back then, Crichton said the house would “reassess” its position come this year).
Crichton explained that S&S rejoined because the CBC has “made a few changes that are in line with our greater vision.” (Though S&S did not offer a comment on why it left the organization last year, Rick Richter, president and publisher of the children’s division, had, in the fall of 2007, expressed disappointment in the organization’s marketing efforts.) The positive changes Crichton listed include the organization’s decision to switch Children’s Book Week from November to May (according to Crichton, the May date is more in line with S&S’s schedule); the creation of the National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature position; and the fact that “more focus is being paid to publishers’ needs on the retail level.”
Robin Adelson, executive director of the CBC, said the organization is “thrilled” to have S&S back and that the house’s decision “speaks volumes about where the CBC has come over the course of the last year.” Adelson added that S&S’s decision will also bolster the perception of the organization: “It adds to our credibility when we say we represent the children’s book industry. It’s hard to back up that claim when you’re missing such an integral player.”
Although Little, Brown, the other large publisher which opted not to renew its CBC membership last year, has not rejoined the organization, Adelson feels the tide may soon change. “Little, Brown is not back in yet, but we are hopeful.” Megan Tingley, senior v-p and publisher, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, told PW, “We are impressed by the new initiatives and plans for the future that the CBC is undertaking and we are currently examining plans to rejoin.”